Hydrangeas and viburnum are both deciduous shrubs. The snowball hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) belongs to the Hydrangeaceae plant family, while the Japanese snowball viburnum (viburnum plicatum) is in the Caprifoliaceae family. Neither plant is associated with serious insect or disease problems.
The snowball viburnum bears dark green leaves that grow up to 4 inches long and turn purple to red in the autumn. The snowball white hydrangea has dark green leaves that reach between 3 and 8 inches long.
Snowball white hydrangeas and snowball viburnums both feature snowball-shaped clusters of small, white flowers. Snowball hydrangea flower clusters reach 8 to 12 inches in diameter.
Snowball white hydrangeas display flowers from June through September, while Japanese snowball viburnums typically bloom in April and May.
Snowball viburnums reach between 10 and 15 feet tall with similar spreads. Snowball hydrangeas mature to heights ranging from 3 to 5 feet with spreads between 4 and 6 feet.
Snowball white hydrangeas are winter hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. Indigenous to Japan and China, snowball viburnums generally thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Both plant varieties prefer well-drained, loamy soils. The snowball white hydrangea thrives in fully sunny locations, while the viburnum needs partially shady to fully sunny planting sites.
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